3 Must-Have Souvenirs From Nassau Straw Market
Posted by: Nassau Paradise Island on May 20, 2014
Packed wall to wall with unique and colorful handmade straw crafts, wooden carvings, and conch shell jewelry, Nassau Paradise Island’s world-famous Straw Market is an exciting treasure hunt from start to finish. Even though this bustling place is also filled with happy vacationers and friendly Bahamian faces, no one’s in a rush; we’re all on island time. So slow down and enjoy the adventure as you search—and bargain—to find a favorite keepsake or a special gift. (And if you need to take a break, just pop in at Bertha’s Go Go Ribs for a quick bite!)
Nassau Straw Market
An open-air mezzanine with over 4,500 square feet of space, the Nassau Straw Market is located in downtown Nassau and is home to more than 100 local vendors selling thousands of items daily. It’s perfect for grabbing a coffee and strolling through the overflowing isles, admiring everything from conch shell jewelry to tiny toy cars made from recycled soda cans—all made by local artisans.
Out of all the wonderful items for sale here, you can’t leave without buying at least one of these traditional Bahamian souvenirs:
Straw Baskets, Bags & Hats
Decades before they became a must-have gift from Nassau Paradise Island, hand-woven straw baskets, bags and hats were used by Bahamians to carry fruit, catch fish and stay cool in the sun. After World War II, however, more North Americans began vacationing here so local craftsmen and women began selling their authentic straw crafts at pop-up markets around The Bahamas—and voilà! The Nassau Straw Market was born.
Made from dried palm and sisal plants that are plaited, braided and woven together, every straw basket, bag, hat, doll and mat is different. Buy a fancy embroidered straw purse for a night on the town, or a big and brightly colored straw bag to take with you to the beach.
Wooden carvings are the perfect choice for art lovers and culture enthusiasts. Each detailed piece is hand carved with a wooden carving knife. If you’re lucky, you’ll often catch a local craftsman in the midst of shaping and creating a wooden carving right before your eyes.
Select a traditional wooden tropical fish, tribal mask, lucky elephant or exotic bird. For the chef in your life, pick up a wooden mortar and pestle—great for mixing herbs and spices at home. So follow your heart (and eyes) towards the wooden carving that speaks to you; that’s how choosing art should work anyway.
Conch Shell Jewelry
Conch, the national food of The Bahamas, makes for both a delicious meal and beautiful jewelry! The pink shells and white pearls of conchs are used to make funky, chunky rings and necklaces, as well as delicate silver-chained bracelets. From casual to elegant, each piece of conch jewelry has its own distinct beauty.
If you’re having a wedding in The Bahamas and want to add a little local flare, give your bridesmaids, mom or new mother-in-law a special gift of conch shell jewelry. It’s a simple piece of paradise for everyone to keep long after your big day.
Open from 8:00am to 8:00pm daily, Nassau Straw Market’s lively and vibrant atmosphere invites you to explore and discover local art, crafts and Bahamian culture. So be sure to add Nassau Straw Market to your “must-stop-and-shop” list along with the Bahamas Craft Centre. And don’t forget to buy an “I Love Bahamas” shirt to go with your new Straw Market souvenir!
The Nassau Straw Market
West End of Bay Street
Open Monday to Sunday
What did you buy at Nassau Straw Market? What was your favorite aisle? Join the conversation with us on Facebook and Twitter, and share your best Straw Market photo with us on Instagram. Don’t forget to hashtag #NassauParadiseIsland.